Asking ‘how much does a coffin cost?’ is almost like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’ That’s because the price of a coffin or caskets will vary significantly depending on the customisation and funeral director.

The cost of a coffin or casket generally makes up a substantial part of the overall funeral price. As a result, the cost discrepancy can also be due to a funeral director charging a highly inflated price. These big-ticket items are where funeral homes can make a substantial profit, so up-selling is rife in the Australian funeral industry.

At Bare, we don’t believe the price of a coffin (or funeral) reflects how much a person was loved. We’re on a mission to change this culture so that Australians can spend more on living – not dying.

In this article, we explain how much a coffin costs in Australia and go into detail about the different options.

How much does a coffin cost?

Coffin costs can range in price from as low as $300 for a cardboard coffin, to upwards of $10,000 for an elaborate and fully customised design. Coffins are usually cheaper than caskets, but we will refer to both as ‘coffins’ in this article to keep things simple. To learn more about the difference between coffins and caskets, read our article here.

Simple cardboard coffin.

Based on prices listed online, the cost of a simple cardboard coffin, generally used for a direct cremation, is around $300-$800. 

A simple cardboard coffin is a container designed specifically for direct cremations, where no attendance or service is held. This practical and functional coffin is not meant to be displayed, as it will soon be transformed into ashes. 

Families can opt for this simpler option without embellishments, resulting in significant cost savings. Typically made of cardboard or particleboard, these cremation capsules provide a straightforward and respectful solution for the cremation process.

Bare uses simple cardboard or MDF coffins for our Bare Crematios.

Custom cardboard coffins.

Families who prefer a customised and decorated cardboard coffin for an attended ceremony should expect to pay $3,000-$5,000. These can be decorated with images of your loved one, printed with a custom design or even painted yourself. Specialist companies can offer these custom coffins.

Example of a customised cardboard coffin.

Inexpensive standard coffins.

The initial cost of a conventional coffin typically begins at approximately $800, though it can vary depending on the funeral director. Many funeral directors set their starting prices higher, ranging from $1,000 to $1,200. Often funeral directors will not have these coffins on display, so ask what are their cheapest coffins available.

Entry-level coffins usually exhibit the following features:

  • Constructed from plywood or medium-density fibreboard (MDF).
  • Equipped with plastic handles.
  • Comes with a flat lid.
  • May be assembled from a "flat-pack" by funeral staff.

Mid-range coffins.

Mid-range coffins share similarities with cheaper coffins, as they are typically crafted from MDF. However, mid-range coffins distinguish themselves by showcasing a higher level of detail, incorporating better quality components, and exhibiting superior craftsmanship. Mid-range coffins can retail from $2,000 to $4,000.

The main characteristics of mid-range coffins include:

  • Construction from MDF or steel.
  • Fitted with metal handles.
  • Features a tiered lid design.
  • Enhanced with a varnish finish for an elegant look.
  • Demonstrates more intricate construction and finer details.

Expensive coffins.

Top-of-the-line coffins command a starting price of $6,000 and can escalate rapidly. When it comes to customisations and embellishments, the sky's the limit. However, while the possibilities are boundless, such extravagance may not be suitable for everyone.

More traditional high-end coffins include the following`:

  • Crafted from solid wood, often using materials like mahogany, walnut, cherry, maple, oak, poplar, or pine.
  • Alternatively, made from solid copper or bronze for a luxurious touch.
  • Adorned with handles plated in bronze, copper, or precious metals.
  • Features a tiered lid design for an exquisite appearance.
  • Showcases intricate carvings on the exterior, adding to its allure.
  • Boasts a velvet interior, providing a plush resting place.
  • Exquisitely hand-crafted, ensuring meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship.

Factors to consider when choosing a coffin.

To give you a better indication of the cost of a coffin, you should consider what type of coffin is most appropriate for you and your family:

  • The deceased person’s wishes.
  • If the coffin will be on display at the funeral/memorial.
  • Affordability and budget.
  • Religious or cultural requirements.
  • Will the service be traditional or more modern?
  • Environmental impact.
  • Open-casket viewing function.
  • Colour, material, shape or design specifications.

Are coffins cheaper than caskets?

Caskets generally have a split lid, which allows for an open-casket viewing.
Caskets generally have a split lid, which allows for an open-casket viewing.

The main point of difference between a coffin and casket is the shape. Coffins are wider at the top and taper in towards the bottom. A coffin has a single lid that flips open, whereas a casket has two lids, split in the centre, to allow for open-casket viewings.

Both coffin and casket prices can vary significantly depending on the provider, based on the considerations mentioned earlier in this article. However, caskets are generally more expensive because they are usually lined with finer material and include extra features like cushions and interior trimmings.

Coffin prices can range from around $600 for a simple coffin, to upwards of $10,000 for premium features or more customised designs. On the other hand, caskets range from around $1,500 for a basic product, to upwards of $15,000 for a premium casket.

What is included in a Bare Funeral?

Our newest service, our Bare Funeral, allows for the more traditional style of funeral, where your loved one will be present at the service. Once the funeral service is complete, we will then transfer your loved one to be cremated.

For the funeral service, your loved one will be placed in a polished coffin, with full satin & lace lining with quilted pillow in a colour of your choice (Rosewood, Red Cedar, White, and Teak).

Final thoughts on determining how much a coffin costs.

Determining how much a coffin costs will vary between the funeral director and feature options. It’s important to have a clear idea of what is important and most appropriate for you and your family, and your budget. Once you know what you want to include, discuss these elements with your funeral director.

To get the best idea of how much a coffin costs, ask your funeral director for an itemised funeral quote. If affordability is a concern, or if you have a strict budget, let the funeral director know this early on and don’t be shy about asking for their cheapest coffin options. If they are not willing to work with you to keep coffin costs low, that is a good indication you should enquire elsewhere.

There are no rules about going with the nearest funeral home, or the first one you contact. Shop around for the best price and service you and your family are comfortable with. If you aren’t 100% happy with their service or prices, you are free to swap funeral providers even after your loved one has been transferred into their care.

At Bare, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to saying goodbye to a loved one. Whether you prefer a simple cremation or wish to include a traditional funeral service or a memorial-style gathering, we would be honoured to support you.

If you are interested in a Bare Cremation or Bare Funeral service, head here for an instant quote or give us a call on 1800 071 176.